Upgraded lighting improves visibility, safety

By Dan Hardin, Staff Writer

The inseparable relationship between mankind and light is best shown through a student’s need for light while walking alone on campus at nighttime.
The approaching winter means it gets dark earlier and night students will often arrive and leave class in the dead of night.
Light-Emitting Diodes (LEDs) produce a light when voltage is applied to a negatively charged semiconductor, causing electrons to combine and create a unit of light.
Many LEDs are designed to last for 50,000 hours. Partially due to Proposition 39 funding, Contra Costa College has replaced much of its low-quality high energy consuming exterior incandescent and fluorescent lighting with higher quality energy efficient LEDs.
LED lighting will save money, energy and will serve to increase security for students and faculty that navigate the campus at night.
Buildings and Grounds Manager Bruce King said, “LED lighting will save money that can be used for students’ education, any way we can improve the learning environment is what it is all about.”
New technology and modernizing decreases expenses which theoretically helps provide the college with more money going to students, King said.
According to topbulb.com, light bulbs contain toxic materials and chemicals inside them in small quantities ­— such as mercury — which may cause health problems and environmental contamination if released into the atmosphere through breakage.
The old lighting would go out fairly frequently, King said. After a year or two, replacements would be necessary.
The maintenance costs for the old light bulbs piled up as they included the cost of the new lights, depreciating machinery and time and labor.
King said the college’s lighting system is on a timer, but due to daylight saving time it has to be constantly dialed back.
Anna Bradford, a former health and human services student,t said, “I am glad to hear of the installation of the LED lighting at CCC because there are some areas on the campus that are darker and more disturbing than I would like to admit.
“I remember coming out of the Applied Arts Building one night and a bank of lights were not working. Even though there were a number of us walking to our cars (together) that night, it was an awful feeling.”
She said that contrary to conventional thought, she still felt nervous on darker areas of campus despite walking with a group.
“It is good that CCC is modernizing and keeping student safety a priority,” Bradford said.
Donna Ericson, a custodian with 29 years at the college, said, “I have never felt threatened or fearful in all the years that I have worked here. I think we do a good job of making sure that the lights are on in the evenings.”
Sophomore psychology major Xianja Barrow said the improved lighting in the parking lots makes her feel safer and more comfortable when walking to her car at night.